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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

September 2017

The Department for Communities has released its formal proposals to improve the process used to allocate social housing. This review of the allocations system was launched in 2013, at which stage a research paper set out recommendations.

The proposals hope to achieve five key outcomes

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Social Tenancies, Policy

Universal Credit will be introduced in Northern Ireland on 27 September. People who are claiming Universal Credit will have to make a separate application for help with their rates. This assistance will be made available under a new “rates rebate” scheme, administered by Land and Property Services and accessed through NI Direct.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

Housing Rights, together with NIFHA, the Council for Homelessness in NI, Shelter NI, the Chartered Institute of Housing, the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, Advice NI and Supporting Communities NI, is calling for the rollout of Universal Credit in Northern Ireland to be urgently reviewed to prevent issues that have arisen in England, Scotland and Wales being repeated in Northern Ireland.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Policy, Affordability

Elements of Universal Credit will pose significant challenges for claimants, advisers and landlords. Housing Rights has particular concerns about how Universal Credit deals with changes of circumstance, particularly in respect of tenants who move home during an assessment period. Changes of circumstances are backdated to the beginning of the assessment period in which the change happened.

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Benefits, Money Matters, Welfare Reform, Policy, Affordability

Personal debt in the UK is growing quickly. The pace of that growth has increased since 2016 and is driven by consumer borrowing.  Consumer borrowing is growing at a rate of more than 10% per year.  The current high level and fast growth of consumer debt suggests that people are taking on unaffordable debts. 

Citizens Advice has renewed its calls for a pause in the roll-out of Universal Credit in Great Britain, citing evidence that the new benefit is causing increased debts, rent arrears and difficulty in meeting core household expenses.

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Benefits, Research, Welfare Reform, Policy

The Scottish Government published their final report on the impacts of Welfare Reform on the people of Scotland . There has been a Statutory Duty on the Scottish Government to produce an Annual Report on the impacts of the UK Welfare Reform Act 2012 on the people of Scotland since 2013.

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Outside NI, Policy

The 27th September 2017 sees the official “roll out” of Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.

The precursor to this “roll out” is the introduction of a wealth of statutory instruments, bringing into force laws which regulate for the specifics of Universal Credit. This article highlights some of the most recent key legislative updates over the past couple of months.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform